PllO'l‘OGRAPllS BY JONA'I‘HAN Ll'l'lLI-ZJOHN
r A potent mixture ofhype and new figuration
l characterised Scottish art in the 805. with young turks
like Steven Campbell claiming an international stage.
: What now? Looking forward to a new decade. The List
asked the art students of ‘89 how they rated their
l training and what the future holds. while Geraldine
. Prince talks to Terry Brodie Smith on the importance of the private collection to these budding talents.
Martin Lynch (Edinburgh)
MARTIN LYNCH, final year Sculpture working mostly with a mixture of photography . created environments and written texts. Hoping to study as an art therapist at New York‘s Young Adult Institute.
‘In Britain in the Slls and Oils yoti have to be realistic - the money ‘s running out very quickly. You've got to lace tip to the fact that you can't suryive on art skills alone. Very few c‘ltlployel's are going to look kindly upon your sculpture qualification.
“l‘he ( 'ollege itself? Put it this way. it likes what it knows. Somewhere along the line depression sets into the staffand they just don't get motiyated — but that‘s really no different from any course that's marginal to commerce or industry. 'l‘hat said. its an ideal situation if you know what you are about. A lot depends on you yourself initiating '
things. alongside people of the same age with an exciting mixture of opinions. I’ve no particttlar axe to grind >— I’ve enjoyed my time here but I think perhaps that teaching priorities should be different . . .'l‘he , cmphasishereisonobject-making. producing well-turned out. finished work. It should be more on process and ideas. exploring a subject. In the end. it‘s not three or four lumps of wood that you‘ve hacked at which you take away. it’s a set of critical approaches. finding as many ways as possible to be creative.’
FIONA MACKAY, final year Sculpture working with installations environments. wants to teach.
‘I left school wanting to do crafty type things. I had no idea l'd end up doing sculpture . . . I’ve become a lot more cynical as far as the college is
10'l‘he List 2 — 15 .lunc 198‘}
‘Art patron' is a rather grand-sounding term which conjures up all kinds ofdifferent images. To the historically-minded it suggests Renaissance Popes and Princes commissioning elaborate decorative schemes for church and palace. or rich Victorian industrialists filling (iothic Revival mansions with highly detailed depictions of'tear-jerking melodramas: in the 1980s it might mean the new corporate sponsors whose sleek company logos are emblazoned on the posters and catalogues ofprestigious art exhibitions. But to debt-ridden art students. or recent art graduates. the best ‘art patron‘ is the enthusiast with a cheque-book prepared to risk £50 or so on the work ofsomcone starting out on a career as a painter or sculptor.
Just such a collector is 'l‘erry Brodie Smith whose Edinburgh flat is hung from skirting board to ceiling with a dazzling array of paintings and drawings by living artists. many of them young. ‘lt doesn‘t really matter who buys what once an artist is dead' he says ‘it doesn‘t really matter
Fiona Mackay (Edinburgh)
concerned. I came tip against quite a bit of hassle intially because my own work was political. based more in issues than aesthetics. bttt that eased off when they realised that it wasn‘t just a passing thing. . . ()ver the last four vears I‘ve noticed widespread changes — a big push on the design side ofthings and students looking to get jobs at the end ofit . . .'l’he degree is not important to me. but it’s very. very important to a lot of otherpeople . . . I'm going back to the Highlands to teach. I wanted to get away but l've seen the city now. It's taken me five years to appreciate exactly what it is up there. life in a small community. and I want to go back.‘
GREGG MAGEE, linal year Drawing and Painting hoping to continue studies at postgraduate leyel.
either when artists are comfortahﬂ off. but it matters a hell ofa lot to young artists: if nobody buys at the beginning. how do they make a start‘." This commitment. amounting almost to a moral conviction. has led Brodie Smith to build up over the last 10 years an impressive. eclectic collection of works by contemporary artists. many of them young Scots. llis earlier enthusiasm was for (‘hinese porcelain: his conversion to pictures came when he was living and working in Bath but discovered on frequent trips to Edinburgh how friendly the Scottish commercial art galleries could be — prior to that he‘d been ptit off acquiring mode rn paintings by experiences in London. ‘l've always thought (‘ork Street (centre of London’s art trade) the unfriendliest street in the world; the dealers‘ receptionists are absolute dragons who snap your head off and order you about - you have to fight if you want to collect in England. (ialleries like ('yril (ierbcr's in (ilasgow or the Scottish (iallery in Edinburgh make you feel welcome.‘ Brodie Smith has built up his
Gregg Magee (Edinburgh)
‘I want a good degree. a yery good degree and preferably a top first . . . The course is to do with discipline. you're here to learn the basics and l . suppose that the groundline is life-drawing and technique. ()n top of that you get experience of mountingexhibitions. showing your work to the public. But if you came here to be taught how to paint and draw you’d be disappointed . . . Most people fall into some kind of tradition in the college. though there are several and you'll always be judged in terms of your own choice. They never try to mould you into something you’re not . . .'l'he staff want success for their students. I suppose the measure of that is personal satisfaction. otherwise there's no point in doing it at all. but many people would see it in terms of financial satisfaction. But I wouldn‘t JD